[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, TENN., USA, IND., ALA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Oct 4 13:12:51 CDT 2008
TEXAS----new execution date)
Luis Salazar has been given a March 11 execution date; it should be
(sources: TCDJ & Rick Halperin)
Paul House Murder Trial Postponed----House On Tenn. Death Row 22 Years
The new murder trial against former death row inmate Paul House has been
postponed until next year.
The trial was supposed to begin in 2 weeks, but has now been pushed back
until March 2009 at the request of both parties.
House spent 22 years on Tennessee's death row after he was convicted of
killing Carolyn Muncey in 1985. But 2 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled
that evidence that came out years later could have exonerated him.
House, who has multiple sclerosis, is now living with his mother. The
state will not seek the death penalty during the retrial.
(source: WSMV News)
Guantanamo detainee will not face death
The Pentagon has denied a request by military prosecutors to seek the
death penalty in the trial of a Guantanamo detainee charged over the 1998
bombing of the US Embassy in Tanzania, in which more than 220 died.
Ahmed Kalfan Ghailani will instead face a maximum life sentence.
(source: The Scotsman)
Allen County to host man's third trial in Gary cop killing ---- Zolo Agona
Azania's 2 previous death sentences have been overturned
A third Allen County jury will be asked to decide the death penalty case
of a man accused of killing a Gary police officer in 1981.
Allen Superior Court has set Oct. 20 to begin the retrial of Zolo Agona
Azania. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled last November to overturn 2
previous death sentences by Allen County juries against Azania. Azania
sought to be resentenced under the pre-2002 death penalty statute, which
would have allowed a jury to impose a term of years or life without parole
as a sentence. His defense counsel argued that prosecutors should be
barred from seeking the death penalty again because the passage of time
would hinder his defense. Attorney Michael Deutsch told the high court in
June 2006 that several witnesses who could provide mitigating evidence
were dead, and some physical evidence was now missing.
Azania, formerly known as Rufus Averhart, was sentenced to death twice in
the killing of Gary police Lt. George Yaros during a bank robbery. The
case was moved to Allen County because of pretrial publicity in Gary.
The state Supreme Court ruled he will be resentenced under the post-2002
death penalty statute but cannot receive life without parole.
(source: Fort Wayne News-Sentinel)
State's use of lethal injection affirmed----Alabama Supreme Court upholds
method as legal
Ruling on a case from Marshall County, the Alabama Supreme Court held
Friday that the state's use of lethal injection on death row does not
violate the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
The high court's ruling in an 8-0 vote affirmed the death sentence of Rick
Allen Belisle, who was convicted in the May 19, 1999, murder of Joyce
Moore, a cashier at the T&J Kwik-Mart convenience store in Boaz.
Moore was bludgeoned to death with a six-pound can of peas and a metal
pipe at the store - where Belisle's wife, Annette, worked. The store was
robbed of about $900.
Although the court examined several issues raised on appeal by Belisle's
attorneys, the gist of the 42-page opinion, written by Associate Justice
Harold See, focused on its decision on the lethal-injection question.
In rejecting the argument that Alabama's method of lethal injection
violates the Constitution's 8th Amendment, the court cited the U.S.
Supreme Court's affirmation of the constitutionality of Kentucky's 3-drug
protocol, which is virtually the same as Alabama's.
"The state argues, and we agree, that Belisle . . . cannot meet his burden
of demonstrating that Alabama's lethal-injection protocol poses a
substantial risk of harm by asserting the mere possibility that something
may go wrong," See wrote.
Even though U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David
Souter dissented in the Kentucky case, See noted they "recognized,
however, that Alabama's procedures, along with procedures used in
Missouri, California and Indiana 'provide a degree of assurance - missing
from Kentucky's protocol - that the 1st drug
had been properly administered.'"
Sodium thiopental is the 1st of 3 drugs administered in an execution.
Pancuronium bromide or Pavulon induces paralysis and then potassium
chloride stops the heart.
Lawyers for Belisle had argued Alabama's system "creates an unnecessary
risk of agonizing pain" and that the method used to check an inmate's
level of consciousness after administration of the first drug for
anesthesia is insufficient.
But the state noted the Department of Corrections has eliminated the risk
of unnecessary pain by using 2.5 grams of sodium thiopental - itself a
lethal dose - to sufficiently anesthetize the inmate. Additional
safeguards include the examination of the prisoner by an execution member
following administration of the 1st drug but before administration of the
2nd to assess his consciousness. This is done, the state said, by calling
the inmate's name, gently stroking the eyelashes and pinching the arm. If
this reveals consciousness, there is a second dosage of sodium thiopental.
Belisle, 39, has been on death row at Holman Correctional Facility since
Aug. 29, 2003. His wife, who was originally charged with capital murder,
testified for the state and received a 20-year sentence.
Attorneys for Belisle argued unsuccessfully that his conviction should be
reversed because the state withheld its plea deal with Annette Belisle
until the eighth day of the trial.
(source: Huntsville Times)
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